PhD Oral Exam - Megan Jane Hyslop, Individualized Program
When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
This study consists of the practice and research of theatrical clowning and nature as a world view towards a scholarship of feeling. The assumption of this study is that clowning and land relationship connect through their potential to catalyze and support personal inquiry and growth. The goal of this doctoral research is to articulate a theory and practice of Natural Clowning as inquiry. This study uses arts-based research and more particularly, clowning and nature as a world view as techniques to connect to feelings through play, humour, sensory connection, dramatic reality, physicality, and authentic impulse, to thus access parts of the unconscious, and to integrate these parts of self into awareness. I believe these parts, when allowed to express or communicate in their own right, may offer not “right” answers per se but honest answers with the potential for great wisdom.
My research into nature as a world view includes trickster stories and land-based teachings from cultures of the North American continent as well as from my English ancestral background that build on my fourteen years of environmental activism and work. My research into clowning included applied theatre, clowning, and improvisational drama therapy literature and six intensive clown trainings that build on a degree in Latin American literature and poetry and a lifetime of storytelling and musical engagement. The lens of arts-based research included methodology courses, a literature review, a practice of clowning that included performance and teaching experimentation, and a practice of land relationship that included residency on a piece of land over nineteen months and the ensuing human and other-than-human interactions. This study offers contributions to the fields of applied theatre, clowning, and land-as-pedagogy.